Car battery charger

  NikkiZ 20:48 05 Dec 2010

Hi guys
Having issues with starting my diesel in this cold weather.
The garage said the glow plugs had had it so got them all replaced. They also said battery was fine. They made the comment that the start up motor sounded a bit sluggish....
Now with all the cold weather even with new glow plugs on 2 mornings I could not start the car (ford galaxy). Charged the battery and I was good to go!

So my dilemma is: Do I now get a new starter motor as well! (more expense!) or do I just charge the battery up if I get a problem. If I go with the latter solution wanted to know if there are battery chargers that are mobile (ie that do not need to be plugged into the electrics)...any advise would be gladly received as I have 4 kids that need to get to school 8 miles from home!!!

Many thanks

  OTT_B 21:06 05 Dec 2010

Take your car to a local motorfactors and ask them to test the battery - they have a nasty habit of failing in cold weather.
Starter motors, by contrast, tend to quite like cold weather (although can obviously fail at any time).

From the sounds of it, you actually may not have a problem at all - its just your car isn't running for long enough to keep the battery fully charged (16 miles after a hard start isn't far).

You can get portable battery chargers, for example, click here
If you go down this route, make sure you recharge the recharger over night.

  OTT_B 21:09 05 Dec 2010

Sorry, I should add that the product I linked to isn't a battery charger per se. It's a boost pack to give some extra 'kick' for the battery.

Also, starter motors when they fail won't work any better with a more heavily charged battery.

  robin_x 21:20 05 Dec 2010

Always deals on jump starters with a bit of hunting..

click here

Read the all three reviews in full on the Amazon page.

click here

  robin_x 21:20 05 Dec 2010

The Silverline one!

  spuds 23:35 05 Dec 2010

If you go the battery starter way, then you must keep it fully charged, and especially after immediate use, as they can also go flat. Also connecting these can be a time consuming job, plus you may have your car electrics to think about, if you make a mistake.

Personally I would have the battery checked at a motor factors, somewhere like Eurocarparts click here ( they have depots and deliver in most large towns) will offer a good battery with sensible warranty at a reasonable price (their own brand might be Bosch or similar), and you don't have to be in the trade to make a purchase. If you go to Halfords, their batteries with be much dearer. A local car accessory shop might have cheap batteries, but they usually only have a short term warranty, and the amperage to turn over a galaxy in cold weather, might prove difficult after a few cold mornings!.

  BRYNIT 23:48 05 Dec 2010

Its not the starter motor that keeps the battery charged its the alternator.

The cold weather and a failing starter will run the battery down especialy if you only do short a run in the car.

A couple of years ago I had a similar problem.

Having a good battery or something to jump start the car will not make any difference if the starter fails. The only way the RAC was able to start my car was to hit the starter with a hammer and then accompany me to the garage.

  namtas 16:52 07 Dec 2010

This very cold weather will test a weakness in a motor vehicle start system, engine oil, even multi grade oil becomes much thicker than normal so the engine requires more cranking power to turn it over.
In addition a diesel engine has a higher compression ratio therefore it requires more power than a petrol engine to turn it over.
In my experience it is not usual for a starter motor to lose efficiency, in most cases it either works or it doesn't, (Brynit your problem was sticking or worn out brushes, tapping with a mallet temporary made them contact the commutator)
Garages will do a resistance voltage drop test to see how efficient the battery is. This is the only real test to decide its life expectancy.
I would most likely think that the battery was the first choice to change, also need check the battery leads in particular the earth lead to ensure that this is a good connection to the chassis. A poor connection here will give the symptoms experienced
You also should have the alternator checked to determine that it is producing sufficient charge.
If you are only doing short runs and you are using a lot of energy from the battery to start then it will continue to be a problem.
You could also consider a battery optimiser which you connect to your system as you would a battery charger, with an optimiser the battery is kept topped up for optimum performance, much safer than a battery charger due to the in built controls.
If your friendly garage will loan you a good battery for a couple of days you can soon determine if that is the problem.

  961 17:05 07 Dec 2010

How old is the battery?

  NikkiZ 17:22 07 Dec 2010

I got the battery tested again and it was good!
However, the guy said the battery was not a high enough spec for the car. So I got a new battery with 800 cca I believe - which has much more cranking power than my last battery and hey presto the car started like a dream this morning - with it being -5 outside! A happy woman I now am!
So I have learnt something there - the battery may be good but if it has a low cca it is not good enough in this cold weather if you have a big car! Thanks everyone !

  961 17:43 07 Dec 2010

During this very cold weather it is most important to ensure that everything in the car is switched very firmly OFF before you use the starter motor

This includes

air con
and anything else using power

Also, if your car has a manual gearbox, put your foot on the clutch pedal before trying to start

This reduces power required

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